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Public Health minister vows to keep universal healthcare scheme unchanged


Public Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul confirmed on Thursday (August 15) that the Universal Healthcare system will not be subjected to any changes that could burden people, such as the co-payment of 10 to 20 per cent of their medical bills to ease the government’s financial burden.

During an opening speech at the annual meeting with healthcare service providers and users for inputs held at the Centra Government Complex Hotel in Bangkok, Anutin said the government will proceed with maintaining healthcare coverage as it is, so people should not be worried about co-payments. 
“My policy is for the Public Health Ministry to provide excellent services without beneficiaries having to worry about other things. I also want to call on the Thai public to take care of their health. Preventing illness is always better. Don’t think that you will get free treatment under the healthcare scheme or that you can afford to pay for treatment, because in the end you are the ones who are suffering. 
“Keep yourselves strong should be your daily merit-making effort because then your subsidy can be spent on those who are really sick and need help. If all Thais maintain their health, they can work and pay taxes and make the country’s economy strong,” the minister said. 

Public Health minister vows to keep universal healthcare scheme unchanged
Anutin added that during the first Cabinet meeting on economic matters on August 16, he will propose to Prime Minister General Prayut Chan-o-cha that the National Health Security Office (NHSO) budget be spent wisely to maximise benefits such as procuring locally manufactured medical supplies to help keep the country’s economy afloat. 
He also promised that as long as he is in charge of Public Health, the Universal Healthcare will remain wholly the government’s responsibility. 
“What’s been given to the people will not be taken back and instead, the people should be getting better services, treatments and health-promotion measures,” the minister said, adding that these details will have to be worked out by the NHSO to ensure equality among the country’s three healthcare schemes. 
Apart from Universal Healthcare, there are two other schemes under the Social Security Office – one for salaried people and the other for civil servants. Saying that he is open to suggestions to improve the scheme such as covering rare diseases, Anutin said he also aims to push for medical marijuana to be covered by the Universal Healthcare scheme if the pilot project at 19 state hospitals yield good results.

Published : August 15, 2019

By : The Nation